3 December 2018

Isuzu D-Max 2018 Towing Review

Isuzu refines its popular D-Max Ute with suspension improvements and increased interior comfort.

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February 2018 saw the release of the new Isuzu D-Max model and we thought it an ideal time to review what changes have been made.   From the exterior the D-Max still has its rugged credentials, built with the adventurer in mind, but we were told this new model has a few tricks up its sleeve to set it apart.

At a glance 
Model 2018 Isuzu D-Max
Engine 3.0 Turbo Charged Diesel
Power 130kW at 3600rpm
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy 7.7/100km
Body style Ute
Towing Capacity Braked 3500kg
Towing Capacity Unbraked


The Isuzu D- Max is a solid commercial contender.  When reviewing commercial registration figures for the 11 months to November 2018, the D-Max ranked in 7th position, outselling top players like Mazda's BT-50 and Volkswagen's Amarok.

The new model features updated springs from 5 to 3 leaf offering improved ride quality, we thought it may have an adverse effect on the towing experience but the vehicle performed well and we never felt like we needed a heavier spring setup.  We were also pleased to see  the new D-Max receives Trailer Sway Control bringing it more in line with the rest of the ute pack.

The D-Max has also had a bit of an interior makeover to improve the cabin and increase comfort levels, the ute we tested had leather sculpted sports seats featuring a foldable rear centre armrest. It also had Passive Start Entry. Further efforts to improve the interior include double sealed doors and sound proofing, however there is still a bit of a rattle under hard acceleration but no more than you would expect.

We started our test by putting the D-Max through its paces on the hill section, with the weight of the boat the 3.0L Turbo diesel accelerated moderately from 50 kph to 80 kph. It was controlled well by the new six-speed Aisin-sourced automatic transmission, which has replaced the older five-speed units. It kicked down quickly into 3rd gear and maintained 3100rpm. Selectable four-wheel drive allowed the Isuzu to handle pulling away on a damp surface without loss of traction.

On the motorway section the vehicle ran confidently in 5th gear at 1500rpm, we could shift it into 6th which dropped the rpm down to 1200, however we could tell the vehicle wasn’t too happy about it and would automatically pull the gear back into 5th as the load increased marginally.

The D-Max range starts at $39,890 + on-road costs for the single cab 2WD LX (excluding Deck).  The range includes both 2WD and 4WD options and single and double cab.  We tested the LS-T Double Cab which is priced at $61,990 + on-road costs, this model represents the best of the new Ute Isuzu range.

The LS-T Double Cabs are also capable of carrying loads up to 60kg on the roof rails. It also has a Built-in GPS enabled audio system with 8-speaker surround sound, we even saw small speakers peering out of the roof. The 8 inch touch screen assists you while reversing allowing you to easily attach a trailer

Overall the D-Max is a good choice if you are after a functional work ute or tow vehicle, the LS-T model adds even more appeal and with the extended service intervals and the inclusion of trailer sway control, as well as many other improvements, makes it worth a look.

Thanks to SeaCraft Miller Moyes for the test boat & trailer.

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Rating and scoring

Item towed
Haines Hunter 600 1500kg
Hard braking control
Acceleration control
General comfort
Smoothness of ride
Stability on uneven surfaces
Stability when cornering
Gearbox performance
Overall result
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